Andy Reid, Michael Vick, and offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg have been driving a message home: Vick is now a pocket passer. Gone are head first dives and the days of the reckless scrambler fans remember from Atlanta. His game has taken on a new level of comprehension.
After the Browns game, when Michael Vick threw four interceptions while passing an absurdly high 56 times, I began to wonder about how this transition could affect the Eagles this season. Was Vick better suited for his old style of play? The play that helped him become runner up for MVP?
Here’s what I learned from the numbers, which involve all games in which Vick has started for the Eagles up to and including last week against Baltimore:
First, and most intriguing to me, is that there is no consistent pattern between Vick’s impact on the running game and the Eagles getting a W. Whether Vick runs for eighty yards in a game or five, two carries or twelve, the Eagles aren’t much more likely to win or lose the game. For example, when Vick has rushed for 75 yards or more, the Eagles are 3-4. Never would have guessed that one.
However, what did stick out about the running game, and I’m not quite sure what to make of this exactly, is that the Eagles are 9-2 whenever Vick scores a rushing touchdown. Feel free to speculate as wildly as your heart desires.
The last thing that I noticed, and I do believe that this is a particularly telling statistic, is that the Eagles are 14-3 whenever Vick throws 35 or less passes a game. When he throws over that number, the Eagles are 3-6.
I feel the importance of those numbers can’t be ignored. The gripe has always been for a more balanced offense which is probably the best bet for this team. This is not to say that Vick has not improved as a passer. What I’m saying is you may buy a new engine for a car, but doesn’t that mean you should drag race it every night.
The best example I can give in terms of the Eagles overusing Vick comes from THE San Francisco game. You know which one I’m talking about. The one where the Eagles were leading 20-3 at halftime and lost 23-24. Vick threw 46 passes in that game. The number of times LeSean McCoy ran the ball? 9.
So if the Eagles really want to reach the superbowl, they need to keep the same kind of balance that they demonstrated against the Ravens, who are a very legitimate Super Bowl contender. In last weeks game Vick passed 32 times and McCoy ran the ball 25 times in a 24-23 victory.